In a recent email, internationally recognized Facebook expert, Mari Smith, said: “Facebook organic (free) reach is down to a mere 1-6% of your fans. That is, for every 100 people on Facebook who liked your business page, only 1-6 of them actually see your posts in their News Feed.”
A 2014 article in the now defunct Examiner put it this way, “Facebook statistics show organic reach for your Business Page is dropping like a bowling ball off a high-rise.” (And that was in 2014!!)
Paying For Facebook – The New Reality
At one time getting into the News Feed of your Facebook fans was free. While most expected to have to pay to build their base of fans (numbers), getting into the News Feed of those who had liked your Page was considered a given. Not so today, and really, not so for several years now!
Today, if you want your content to reach your fans and others on Facebook, you’re going to have to spend money.
If you’re not prepared to spend money to show up in the News Feed of your Facebook fans and others, should you even be on Facebook?
Paying for Facebook is the new reality! If you’re not, at least periodically, spending money on your Facebook Page to get more reach, you’re missing out!
What If I Share Great Content?
While there is still a lot of talk about great content being enough to get you in front of your fans, it’s not enough.
Don’t misunderstand me, great content is hugely important! But great content, for most businesses, doesn’t guarantee you’ll get into the News Feed of your existing fans. And it won’t get you into the News Feed of those who are not your fans either.
That said, if your fans are super interested in seeing anything and everything you put out, ask them to go to your Page and select to see your content first. Here’s how they do it on your Page:
- Scroll over the ‘Liked’ button beneath the cover image
- Select ‘See First’ in your News Feed
Doing this will ensure what you share on your Page shows up first in their News Feed. They choose this option for up to 30 Pages.
Here’s the caution: If your fans find you post content to Facebook too frequently and/or if your content isn’t super engaging, they could decide to deselect this option. If they do, it’s unlikely you’ll show up in their News Feed unless you boost your posts. They could also decide to unlike your Page.
Another option is to encourage your fans to be notified anytime you post to Facebook. They’ll then be alerted in the ‘Notifications’ area (the globe in the top of the Facebook navbar) that you’ve posted something. The same caution from above applies here.
Here’s where they go on your Facebook Page to choose notifications:
- Scroll over the ‘Liked’ button beneath the cover image
- Select ‘All On (All Posts, Events)’ Notifications
Getting fans to choose to see your content first or receive notifications of what you share is not as easy as it sounds. You have to figure out a way to let them know about these options! A well worded and designed boosted (paid) post is one option. Including the information in your regular eNewsletter is another option.
Facebook’s Long-Term Strategy For Business
The drop in organic reach hasn’t happened overnight. It was part of Facebook’s long-term strategy:
- Build a platform consumers love and use
- Give businesses a free taste of how they can reach their audience on Facebook
- Charge businesses to reach consumers on the Facebook social network
Their initial plan may not have looked quite like this. But rest assured, they didn’t build a worldwide empire so that they could give away all that exposure for free. They are not a charity.
Facebook knew that once businesses and other organizations with Pages had experienced a taste of the exposure Facebook could give them, they would need to be weaned off of free reach and onto paying for reach. That’s why Facebook reach for Pages has been declining slowly over the past 5+ years!
What Facebook has done to date, and pretty much every other social network out there, is to build a market for their product. They’ve leveraged the free service they provide to the average consumer, by monetizing the service they offer to Pages. In other words, to businesses and other organizations who want to reach the Facebook user base.
Paying For Reach
As already mentioned, for the vast majority of businesses, the Facebook fan base they’ve built is no longer reachable without an investment of cash.
All major social networks are looking for ways to monetize their services to business. They know if they build it – a social platform that consumers use en masse – businesses will come. They know businesses and other organizations want to reach the consumers using those social networks, and they will pay to do so!
Of course, they have to grow their users to a place where we are willing to pay for reach. Facebook has done that! Their base of users worldwide is slowly approaching 2 billion people.
If your target market is active on Facebook, don’t be foolish! Invest money to reach them there.
The cost for most Pages with a local audience is cheap in comparison to other types of advertising. $50 goes a long way on Facebook. (At least it does today.)
Expect the price for Facebook advertising to rise as more Pages see the light and begin to use Facebook creatively to reach their fans.
Roughly only 5% of all active Facebook Pages pay to advertise (including boosted posts). Expect that to grow significantly over the next few years!
Changes To Advertising Guidelines Make It Easier To Pay For Reach
Facebook used to restrict the amount of text on images in their advertising. This made it difficult to create images with easy to read coupons, sales information, inspirational quotes or such that could pass Facebook’s old 20% or less text rule. So even if you had wanted to pay to boost that content, you couldn’t. Facebook wouldn’t allow it.
Not so today. While Facebook prefers images that have less text, it is not a hard and fast rule. They’ve put together guidelines and a way for you to test advertising images (paid content) to see whether the amount of text on your image might impact its reach.
Promote Your Most Likeable Content
One thing to keep in mind when paying for reach on Facebook. If people don’t like what you are sharing they will shut you down.
Traditional advertising focused on you and your business, and not valuable, helpful and/or interesting to your fans, won’t cut it on Facebook.
Facebook is a different animal from a newspaper, magazine, billboard and flyer! A totally different animal.
Although you should be paying to boost some, and maybe all, of the content you share on Facebook, make sure it is what your target audience/your fans like/want to see.
Getting into the Facebook News Feed is important. But without content that is of interest to or appeals to your target audience, you’ll be wasting your money.
This article has been updated significantly. (To view the original article on SocialMediaToday click here.)